I’ve decided my primary focus this year to be on improving my productivity. Almost 4 months have passed. Lots of lessons learned. One of them was: do not make things complex if they can be kept simple. Same with to-do lists. Below you have 5 very simple, yet powerful online to-do tools you might find useful.
I’ve done my best to help you make an informed choice by listing and reviewing the best tools I found so far.
What is TeuxDux: A very simple web app where you can make to-do list for your next 7 days. I guess they did this because they recommend to plan your week upfront (which makes sense).
Why is it useful: It’s simple and easy to understand. Also it’s very user-friendly. I was able to start using it after 30 seconds literally without any confusion.
My experience with it: I’ve decided to play around with it and create a simple to-do list with not-so-simple-to-do items :). Take a look:
Okay :), not the best list in terms of breaking things down (I’ll let you know what I mean by that later) but gives you a pretty good idea on how can you make your list. You see how intuitive the interface is?
2. Ta-da Lists
What is Ta-Da lists: This is a tool created by 37 Signals, the guys who are responsible for inventing Ruby on Rails . As you can suppose, Ta-Da lists is also created with this programming language.
Why is it useful: Simple, easy to understand and very intuitive. You can create lists for a group of tasks and share every list easily. Sign up required 10 seconds, as you can see from the above picture (my experience also confirms this.)
My experience with it: I’ve played around with Ta-da lists and found it very easy to learn. Again, here’s a simple to-do list:
Oh well, I live in a village, you know :)
What is HiTask: This is a bit more complicated web tool than the previous two. HiTask is a detailed tool, you can set up tasks at exact time on an exact day.
Why is it useful: You can set up projects, invite team members and easily turn HiTask from a simple to-do software to a powerful team management tool. It’s your choice whether to keep it simple or go more complex (remember, if you don’t have to, don’t over-complicated stuff.)
My experience with it: Their interface left me a good impression. You have a screen shot below:
What is Remember the Milk: I would say this is a semi-complicated (using it in context where simple is a “to do checklist” and nothing else, see #1 for an example) application for getting stuff done. You can categorize your activities in different categories, the default ones are Personal/Study/Work.
Why is it useful: Remember the Milk is useful if you need lists for things to do at home, school or work. No default set up is required to organize these tasks.
My experience with it: I’ve played around with this application a bit, here’s a screen shot below:
What is Todoist: Another great web app for to-do items. The unique thing here is that you can create sub-projects and have a calendar you can utilize.
Why is it useful: Well, they were kind to answer this question instead of me:
My experience with it: …has been great so far. Very intuitive and easy to understand, as you’ll see from the screen shot below:
2 Things To Remember When Making To-do lists
I told you I’m a productivity freak. Here are 2 useful things to remember when doing to-do lists:
- Break things down. For example, if you write ‘clean out the office’ and think that’s a to-do item, well, you’re wrong. That’s more like a project. ‘Clean out the office’ is a COLLECTION of tasks, not a task itself. So if you have this ‘project’ in mind, then break it down into several ‘to do items’ like ‘shred unneeded paperwork’ and so on.
- Don’t be vague. When you write your to-do items, be specific. For example, if you need to add an effect to a Photoshop image, don’t write ‘add Photoshop effect.’ Write down WHICH effect you need to add. Possibly, also write where you need to add it. Your purpose is to look at the to-do item and know immediately what you need to do without thinking very much.
By the way, the principles above are from a book I own named “Upgrade your Life” from LifeHacker which I found very useful for improving my productivity.
Congratulate yourself because you are already taking action and are in the next stage where you’re learning how to take action more efficiently. I hope this article helped you with that.